1. My delegation welcomes First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić, and Ambassador Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo, back to New York, and thank them for their statements.
2. I am also grateful to Special Representative Zahir Tanin for his briefing.
3. Years of persistent efforts by the leaders of Kosovo in implementing socio-economic reforms have evidently borne fruits. We are pleased with the strong economic performance shown by Kosovo, with a 4% GDP growth and a marked improvement in its global ranking for “Doing Business” as reported by the World Bank.
4. As Kosovo moves closer towards EU integration, we envisage further intensified efforts by Kosovo to restructure its economy, implement economic reform measures, and address persisting challenge of high unemployment.
5. The normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina remains a crucial aspect in paving the way towards European integration, in the interest of peace, stability and prosperity in Kosovo and the region. We thus, wish to see the resumption of the high-level EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, as soon as possible.
6. With respect to outstanding commitments as agreed in the 15-point Brussels Agreement, Malaysia urges Pristina and Belgrade to redouble efforts in implementing the historic agreement. These include the establishment of the Association of Serb majority municipalities and the implementation of the action plan for telecommunications in Kosovo. We also welcome the recent progress made with regard to Kosovo’s judicial integration and the redevelopment of the Mitrovica bridge.
7. As highlighted by Mr. Tanin today and the Secretary-General in his latest report, I share their concerns on the political tensions relating to the issues of territorial delineation with Montenegro and the Trepca mining and industrial complex. We call on the opposition parties and their supporters to cease from political violence in expressing their grievances. We also urge all parties and stakeholders to avoid inflammatory rhetoric and to engage in dialogue and consultations in good faith to resolve the issues amicably and in accordance with the rule of law.
8. Malaysia commends President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo for his exemplary leadership and reconciliatory gestures in visiting memorials commemorating Kosovo Serb civilian victims in the conflict. His visits sent the much-needed signal towards reconciliation, national unity and social integration, in building a common future.
9. We call on the people of Kosovo to similarly focus on rebuilding trust and confidence, and to cease from targeting minorities, as well as religious and cultural sites.
10. Part of the effort to rebuild trust between the communities in Kosovo involves addressing the past. In this regard, Malaysia takes note of the appointment of the Chief Prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in the Netherlands, to try cases arising from the findings of the EU Special Investigative Task Force.
11. We also commend ongoing efforts by the Kosovo government in countering terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation.
12. I join my other colleagues in reaffirming support for UNMIK, which continues to play a key role in promoting security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo. We commend the leadership of the Special Representative, and the important role of the EU Rule of Law Mission, the OSCE, and the Kosovo Force in ensuring peace, security, and the rule of law in Kosovo.
13. Lastly, my delegation strongly supports the call by other Council members for a reduction in the frequency of Council meetings on UNMIK, to better reflect the situation in Kosovo and in view of more pressing matters under the Council’s agenda.